Tokyo Gov. Yoichi Masuzoe suggested Sunday that the metropolitan government will consider putting a smoking ban in all restaurants in the capital before it hosts the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
“Japan is the only advanced nation where smoking is permitted at restaurants. We’d like to pass an ordinance (for a smoking ban) with the cooperation of the metropolitan assembly,” Masuzoe said on a television program.
Masuzoe’s remark follows Friday’s announcement by McDonald’s Japan that it had banned smoking at all of its 3,135 outlets across the nation. Ninety percent of McDonald’s restaurants in Japan were non-smoking as of the end of March, but the burger chain finally opted to pull the trigger on a complete ban out of consideration for the health of its customers and employees, the company said.
Masuzoe told reporters later that he wants to impose a smoking ban in all public facilities and restaurants in Tokyo, adding that the metropolitan government will discuss how well it can be enforced by law.
Japan used to be a haven for smokers but has been making steady progress since the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry in principle banned smoking in public facilities.
Masuzoe hopes to step up measures to set up designated smoking areas and prevent secondhand smoking in the run-up to the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, sources said.